English professor’s book continues legacy of graduate and best-selling author

Michael Livingston’s love for the work of author Robert Jordan began 30 years ago. Today, The Citadel English professor’s newly released book, Origins of The Wheel of Time: The Legends and Mythologies That Inspired Robert Jordan, pays homage to Jordan and his wife, Harriet McDougal Rigney.

Jordan is the penname for James Rigney Jr., who graduated from The Citadel in 1974 as a veteran student and physics major. Best known for his internationally best-selling Wheel of Time series, Jordan passed away in 2007.

McDougal Rigney, who was also Jordan’s editor, provided the foreword to Origins and gave Livingston access to notes and early drafts that had never before been shared. According to Livingston, the world that he and many other readers have come to love would not have existed without McDougal Rigney, and neither would his newest book. As an expression of gratitude, Livingston included the symbol of the Wheel of Time, the interwoven snake and wheel, on the cover of the book. In a 2013 interview, McDougal Rigney said she always regretted not including the symbol in The Wheel of Time books, which has recently been adapted as an epic fantasy television series by Amazon Prime.

Origins will be welcomed by Jordan’s fans all over the world, but the number one audience in my mind was Harriet. It was essential to me that I do justice to her husband’s legacy while acknowledging her vital role in its making—not just as his wife, but as his editor, as well,” said Livingston. “Teaching at The Citadel, striding the halls he walked, I feel his presence today.… I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do think it made a difference to write this book in a world that he loved so dearly.”